SAN FRANCISCO --
, the first of the major chipmakers to report results for the current quarter, reported earnings Wednesday near the top end of the range of estimates, which could be a positive for the technology sector on Thursday.
After the close, Micron reported second-quarter earnings of 8 cents a share, which compares to the break-even estimate from
. It also was near the high end of the range of
forecasts that went from a loss of 17 cents a share to a profit of 10 cents a share. Before the announcement, Micron closed 1 3/8 higher, or 3%, at 52.
Micron reported net sales of $1 billion, compared with $763 million for the same quarter last year. Of the revenue, $697 million came from semiconductor memory products, compared with $283 million for the same period last year. Gross margin on semiconductor operations was 32% in the second quarter compared with 9% for the first quarter.
Layoffs and a Downgrade
was in the news on a number of fronts. The company revealed some details of its restructuring following its integration of
, which will include layoffs of between 700 and 1,000 workers between the two companies.
In advance of the meeting, AOL was downgraded by
Brown Brothers Harriman
to neutral from buy based on the valuation of the stock versus earnings. It closed 3 7/8 points lower, or 3.2%, at 117 1/8.
Late Rally for Techs
Technology stocks rallied in the last hour of trading, led by industry bellwethers
. There were reports that Microsoft was in talks to settle its ongoing lawsuit with the government, though representatives from one state said the terms were not acceptable. Microsoft closed 4 11/16 higher, or 3%, at 171 1/4. Intel closed 4 11/16 higher, or 4%, at 119 1/4, while Dell recovered from recent weakness to close 2 13/16 higher, or 8%, at 38 1/2.
Also among the day's winners was
, which soared after it announced that
would be using Bottomline's electronic payment software for electronic commerce services. Bottomline closed up 19, or 36%, at 71 1/2.
Largest point gainer on the Nasdaq was
. In its first day of trading, the provider of Internet news, information and entertainment services soared to a high of 62 1/4 after being priced at 25 Tuesday. It finished the day up 22 1/2, or 90%, at 47 1/2, which was below the 52 level where it began trading.